Apple's iPhone 4S appears to be winning a healthy number of customers from rival mobile platforms.
A hefty 36 percent of iPhone 4S buyers said they jumped ship from an Android, BlackBerry, or Palm device, according to a study released yesterday by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).
Specifically, 50 percent of the rival phone jumpers polled by CIRP upgraded from a BlackBerry, 39 percent from an Android phone, and 10 percent from a Palm device. Only 21 percent switched from another type of mobile phone or picked up an iPhone as their first cell phone. A full 43 percent of all iPhone 4S buyers upgraded from an older model iPhone.
Among all iPhone 4S buyers, 42 percent said they broke an existing contract to grab Apple's new handset.
Despite aggressive price drops on older iPhone models, the iPhone 4S is owned by 89 percent of the iPhone owners surveyed. Looking at the three different capacity iPhone 4S handsets, the high-end version continues to do well, with 21 percent of buyers opting for the 64GB edition.
"Apple sustained the strong demand at launch, and sold even more high-end models than before," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said in a statement. "iPhone started to take more sales from other smartphones, with 36 percent of buyers upgrading from an Android, Blackberry, or Palm, compared to 18 percent at launch."
For Apple, demand for the iPhone has a trickle-down, or actually trickle-up, effect.
CIRP's research has found that Apple owners often begin with a device such as the iPod or iPhone and then move up the chain to full Mac products. iPhone buyers who upgraded from an earlier model were more likely to buy such items as an Apple TV, AirPort, or Time Capsule.
As Apple prepares to release its December quarter earnings today, a collection of analysts questioned by Fortune are. If Apple actually hits that target, it would mean an 83 percent increase over the 16.24 million sold during the same quarter a year earlier.
To compile its results, CIRP ran an online survey aimed at technology buyers. From an initial 6,316 responses, the research firm pared the list down to 365 people who specifically bought a new iPhone in October, November, or December.